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August 4, 2016

Q2 Report: The Business is good in LA

Today's posting has been salvaged from the pile of things that once-seemed-interesting-and-might-still-be. So we hope you will find this tidbit of YESTERDAY'S NEWS TODAY useful if you're in need of a impressive dinner party topic.

According to a recent report from FilmLA, the film BIZ is really hopping in LA County. The credit for the boom in business goes to Governor Brown's generous $1.55B Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0.
The smattering of readers who follow along here might recall an earlier post where it was suggested that a more descriptive name for the Governor's Program might be "Film/Television Tax Credit and Accountant Full-Employment Program." Back to yesterday's news..)
from the FilmLA Report (7/12/2016):
"Feature Film Production on the Increase in Los Angeles"
Way back on July 12th, FilmLA reported that there were nearly 10,000 on-location shooting days between April Fool's Day and July 4th--otherwise know as Q2. That's up about 6% from Q2 2015. Not quite up to the Q1 2016 bonanza when production was up 10% from 2015, but still impressive. Overall for 2016, FilmLA reports there have been nearly 20,000 shoot days in Los Angeles County during 2016.

If you're like me, the temptation to extrapolate from these figures is irresistible.

Consider this: the FilmLA data only includes data for LA City, LA County and a handful of other municipalities in the county. Let's say if we included on-location shoots for places like South Pasadena, Pasadena, La Canada, Glendale, Burbank and Monrovia, and added a very modest 10% to the total. In that case, we could estimate about 44,000 on-location shoot days in LA County for 2016. And, if you knock off a couple weeks for the Christmas holidays, that's nearly 900 shooting days per week or roughly 180 on-location shoots happening in LA County on a typical day.

While that's a sizable number, your chances of encountering a film shoot while running errands remains small. According to the infallible Wikipedia, there's about 4,000 square miles of land in LA County. All things being equal (which they never are) that suggests one shoot per every 22 square miles. You probably have a better chance of seeing a Delorean.

Apparently, the biggest growth in on-location shoot days was in feature production and TV pilots. Although the LA Times reports that LA's overall share of TV pilots is shrinking, that is not really worrisome since the production pie is getting bigger and the number of jobs is increasing.

However, if you happen to be a reality TV fan, the news isn't so good. Reality TV on-location shoot days is down over 8%. (That probably means that we aren't going to see "The Real Neighbors of Altadena" produced any time soon.)

According to the FilmLA press release, the main reason for this overall growth is the Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0. They claim it's only the start. Paul Audley, President of FilmLA, touts that “We expect these production increases to continue until the state’s incentive reaches full utilization.” In other words there still plenty of credits left in the kitty.

So who's getting in on the State's largess? Easy enough to find out. The California Film Commission has published the list of 28 winners who successfully competed for $109 million jackpot in tax credits. If the proceeds were split evenly, that would be about $4 million a piece.

Interestingly, nearly two-thirds are "non-independent" productions — meaning the budgets are greater than $10M and more than 25% of the production company is owned by a publicly traded company, like Disney. The Biggies are are winning out over the Indies.

Speaking of Disney: "A Wrinkle in Time" (a Disney production listed as Tesseract) was a tax-credit winner. "Wrinkle" is supposed to generate 400 jobs and $44 million in wages. Not a bad return for a $4 million dollar tax gimme.

From California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 Gains First $100 Million-Plus Feature
California Film Commission Press Release (8/2/16)

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